burns and allen

When they first performed together in vaudeville, George Burns was the comic and his wife Gracie Allen had the straight lines. Burns switched their roles upon discovering that his wife’s delivery got a bigger laugh than his punchlines. As the duo honed Gracie’s innocent, slightly daffy stage persona, they found the formula that would serve them throughout their careers.

Burns & Allen were touring England in 1929 when they made their first radio appearance on the BBC. Burns & Allen returned to America and joined The Guy Lombardo Show in 1932. By 1934, the comedy had become the main attraction, and the show was re-titled The Adventures of Gracie.

In 1933, Gracie launched an on-air search for her “lost brother.” This yearlong stunt took her onto comedy shows and daytime serials, interrupting the proceedings and causing a national sensation.

In 1942, The Burns & Allen Show became a situation comedy, with George and Gracie playing themselves. The show ran on radio until 1950, when it moved to television for an eight-year run.

Gracie Allen died on August 27, 1964.

George Burns died on March 9, 1996.

The Burns & Allen Show was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.